As schools around the US start to return, a new study from McAfee Corp. (Nasdaq: MCFE) shows that while parents are increasingly worried about their children’s online safety, many are finally taking it seriously and looking to better educate children about digital wellness.
With nearly half (44%) of school-age children participating in online learning last school year due to the pandemic, just three in ten parents (31%) saw no increased risk to their children’s online safety. Looking ahead to this year, parents are worried for their children’s online safety with exposure to scams (72%), sharing personal information (70%), misinformation (68%), illegal content (63%) and cyberbullying (61%) the highest concerns.
Now, as schools go back in-person, over three-quarters (76%) of parents believe that their children should be taught about digital wellness and online safety in the classroom. But, despite only 9% believing it to be their own responsibility, many American parents are already taking steps to protect their children. Over a quarter (28%) of parents took steps to educate their family about safe behaviour, and a further quarter (23%) purchased new online security protection.
“Getting students back to school safely is an imperative for parents after the disruptions of the last school year,” said Judith Bitterli, senior vice president of Consumer at McAfee. “We know that many parents are looking for online peace of mind, and so looking to schools to help them educate their children about safe online behaviour. However, it’s good to see that many are also doing the same at home. At McAfee, we know the importance of digital wellness and are here to help parents and teachers educate themselves and their children.”
Get Prepped for Back to School
With majority of schools not yet teaching digital wellness as part of the curriculum, parents will need to continue to educate themselves and their families. To help, McAfee has put together these top tips for parents to get their children prepped for going back to school safely.
- Get your devices ready: much like getting children ready to going back to school by preparing backpacks ahead of time, it’s good to make sure that any device that children will be using for school or homework is up to date on its latest settings including security software.
- Refresh passwords: Many students will still be accessing the same online learning tools from the classroom. With passwords regularly being shared online by cyber criminals, it’s good to update passwords regularly. Using a password manager will help create, organize and encrypt strong passwords to make it simpler to be safe.
- Access from home securely: Use a VPN when children are accessing online learning services from home to protect the privacy of the internet connection with bank-level encryption to stop hackers stealing personal information like passwords or data.
- Teach personal responsibility: With misinformation a major concern for many parents, it’s important for parents to educate their children about fake news and how to spot it. Ask children to question the content they read or watch online to determine if it is credible before making up their minds.
- Discuss digital wellness round the dinner table: While it can sound like a boring topic, it’s important for families to regularly discuss online safety at home. Parents should talk to their children about how to spot a phishing scam, what to do if there’s been a data breach and how to have good digital wellness.
McAfee commissioned MSI International to conduct a survey of over 1,000 adults in each country in April 2021, ages 18–75. This press release only includes data from the U.S. survey. Additional surveys were conducted in Canada, UK, Germany, France, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and India. Data for these regions can be requested via media contact below.
McAfee Corp. (Nasdaq: MCFE) is a leader in personal security for consumers. Focused on protecting people, not just devices, McAfee consumer solutions adapt to users’ needs in an always online world, empowering them to live securely through integrated, intuitive solutions that protects their families and communities with the right security at the right moment. For more information, please visit https://www.mcafee.com/consumer
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